Sustainable Colored Gemstone Sourcing

by Matt Thorn

on October 16, 2019

Executive Summary

75-85% of all colored gems come from ASM (artisanal small-scale mining) So what’s the problem? This active and booming industry presents issues that revolve around forced labor and child labor, environmental damage, health and safety concerns and wide spread criminal activity. As consumers become increasingly aware of the issues surrounding the mining of diamonds and other minerals, interest in ethical sourcing has carried over to the colored gemstone market.

Human rights violations, environmental impacts and corruption are known to exist in the mining sector. Colored stones are no exception. Persistent negative environmental impacts have been known to occur in sensitive habitats and protected areas. Direct mining activities have caused deforestation and soil erosion that has led to water pollution. Corruption and illegal activities can be compared to those of other mineral extraction practices including illegal extraction and smuggled gemstones being traded to finance various armed rebel groups.


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